The 113th U.S. Open is bound to be exciting, with nearly every contender in the world competing for the second major of the year. As expected, the game’s best are favored to win it all in 2013.
Tiger Woods, who has won the U.S. Open three times in his career, is the favorite to finish No. 1 with 9-2 odds, according to Bovada. After the 14-time major champion, Phil Mickelson has the second-best odds at 16-1. Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy are in a three-way tie with 20-1 odds, and Adam Scott's odds are 22-1.
Here, we’re going to take a look at how some of the favorites will end up doing once they tee off at Merion Golf Club. Will one of these big names win the U.S. Open? Will they even make the cut after Friday’s round? Based on their odds, making the cut is expected, but where exactly will they finish?
So, let’s take a look at how three of the six favorites will end up doing at Merion this weekend. I’ll be focusing on the three golfers who will be playing in the feature group at the U.S. Open for the first two rounds.
Adam Scott, 22-1 Odds
The U.S. Open hasn’t been kind to Adam Scott throughout his career. Despite wining his first major title at the Masters earlier in the year, winning a second a few weeks later is going to be quite the battle. Scott has struggled at the U.S. Open more than at any other major tournament.
Scott has finished in the top 10 at least three times in each of the major tournaments with the exception of the U.S. Open, where he hasn’t done it once. The upcoming weekend will be the 12th time Scott tries to conquer the tournament, having been cut in six of 11 attempts.
After back-to-back cuts in 2011 and 2012, Scott finally got to play the weekend at Olympic Club last year. He finished the tournament at six over, which was good enough for a tie for 15th place. This year, though, he’ll look to finally make it into the top 10 for the first time and compete for the title.
Aside from winning at the Masters, Scott has had a good season. Despite not having won any other tournaments this year, he’s made the cut in each and has finished in the top 25 five times. He hasn’t finished in the top 10 since the Masters, though, finishing in ties for 19th and 13th in his last two outings.
U.S. Open Prediction: Sixth Place
Rory McIlroy, 20-1 Odds
Rory McIlroy will be one of the most talked-about contenders this weekend at Merion, and that’s because of his past experiences playing the U.S. Open. McIlroy has been about as inconsistent as you could ever imagine over the course of a three-year period.
In 2010, McIlroy made his second attempt at winning the U.S. Open—he had finished tied for 10th the year prior—but he was cut before the weekend began, shooting a 10-over throughout the tournament’s opening rounds. The next year, he played better than anyone else and won the tournament by eight strokes.
Winning the U.S. Open in 2011 made him a big favorite to repeat a year ago, but McIlroy finished far from the top of the field. McIlroy was horrible through the first two rounds at Olympic Club, shooting 10 over, and he missed the cut despite it being set at eight strokes over par.
McIlroy enters the 2013 U.S. Open having had an up-and-down season to this point. The Northern Ireland native finished second at the Valero Texas Open but a week later finished in a tie for 25th at the Masters. He’s had two top-10 finishes since but recently finished tied for 57th at the Memorial Tournament.
U.S. Open Prediction: Seventh Place
Tiger Woods, 9-2 Odds
Woods enters the U.S. Open with a big target on his back—and for good reason. The No. 1 golfer in the world has won this tournament three times in his career, and if he wins again this weekend, he’ll sit just a trio of majors away from tying Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories in a career.
While Woods has had his fair share of success at the U.S. Open in the past, he hasn’t been lucky the last few years. After finishing fourth in 2010, Woods missed the 2011 U.S. Open due to injury and then finished in a tied for 21st last year. Keep in mind that Woods also has never played the U.S. Open when held at Merion.
Woods has had a good year to this point in the season, but he faltered most recently at the Memorial Tournament, where he finished in a tie for 65th. Before that, he had won three of the last four official events he played in, including The Players Championship in mid-May. The one he didn’t win was the Masters.
Whether Woods can capture his 15th major victory will be one of the major storylines this weekend, and clearly Vegas believes that he has a good shot at it. The conditions won’t make things easy for Woods—or any other golfer—and it’ll be interesting to watch how he adjusts to the course.
U.S. Open Prediction: First Place